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Pennsylvania Residents Can Appeal Social Security Administration Decisions Regarding Benefits or Eligibility

Disabled Pennsylvania residents who apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be initially turned down for benefits by the Social Security Administration.  In fact, many applications are initially denied. All applicants have a right to appeal Social Security decisions based on their eligibility for Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

The process for appealing a decision is set forth by the Social Security Administration. First, if the Administration has determined that you do not meet the requirements for Social Security or for SSI, or that you are being overpaid, you can request a review of the decision. There are different levels of appeals, including reconsideration, hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), review by the Appeals Council, and federal court review.

First, a reconsideration determination takes place. This is a new decision by someone who was not involved in the first decision. You would receive a letter detailing the basis for the decision.

Then, if you disagree with the decision, you have the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  The hearing before the administrative law judge includes an opportunity for you to present evidence and testimony about your Social Security benefits claim.  You can present witnesses, including vocational experts and medical professionals.  Individuals may prefer to have an attorney skilled in Social Security claims represent them at this hearing.

Following the hearing, if you do not agree with the decision, you may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council.  The Appeals Council can deny a request for review if it concludes the hearing decision was correct.  If the Council reviews your case, it will decide your case itself, or an administrative law judge will further review and determine your case.  If you disagree with the decision by the Appeals Council or the Appeals Council’s decision not to review your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

Individuals and families often deal with economic challenges and frustration while waiting for an appeal to be completed in a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income hearing. Some cases are considered “critical,” however, and therefore they may be eligible for what is termed “special processing.” This entitles the case to an expedited hearing.

At Needle Law, our Pennsylvania lawyers can help you seek Social Security benefits, even if you have been denied.  We are skilled at presenting a comprehensive claim that sets forth all of the necessary medical evidence and information, increasing the likelihood that you will be awarded benefits. Our team of skilled attorneys can help you explore your options and guide you through this process. We provide a complimentary initial consultation and can be reached by calling 570-344-1266 or by completing our online form.

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